Pradeep Pattanayak

The mass-nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles ended at Babubali and Nasi-2 areas of Gahirmatha with 5.12 lakh marine guests laying eggs, registering an increase of 11,000 compared to last year. 

Gahirmatha is the only marine wildlife sanctuary in Odisha. Gahirmatha coast being the safest place for Olive Ridley sea turtles, their number keeps increasing every year which, according to animal lovers and environmentalists, is a good sign from an environmental point of view. 

This year 5,12,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles laid eggs over a period of one week. Compared to last year’s figure, this year 11,000 more such marine guests laid eggs. 

“For the Rajnagar area, it is a matter of great delight. Olive Ridley sea turtles come to Gahirmatha to lay eggs. It is like heaven for them. It is a matter of great satisfaction that this year, a record number of turtles has laid eggs,” said Bhabani Shankar Mishra, a local resident. 

On the other hand, spectacular scenes unfolded at the Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district yesterday. At the dusk, thousands of baby Olive Ridley sea turtles started to emerge from sandy pits and crawl towards the sea from Saturday night.

It is said that this year the mass hatching of Olive Ridley sea turtles occurred in time. The hatching will continue for the next four to five days. And the forest department is taking all steps to ensure the safety of the baby turtles. Local people have also joined hands with the forest department. Patrolling has also been intensified along the beach. 

Divisional forest officer (DFO), Berhampur, Sunny Khokkar said, “We are trying our best to ensure the safety of the baby turtles.”
An all-time high 6.37 lakh Olive Ridley sea turtles had laid eggs in a three-km-long stretch from Podampeta to Bateshwar near the river mouth during the eight-day duration of mass nesting from February 23 to March 3 this year.  Around 100 to 150 eggs are laid by each female turtle during the mass nesting period.

(With inputs from PTI)